Juvenile Justice and Rehabilitation

For those that want to work in juvenile rehabilitation, there are many different careers available in this field. Some of the common careers in this include juvenile counselors, juvenile court attorneys, probation officers, and judges.

Those that work in the juvenile justice system will deal with troubled youths in a number of settings. The justice system for juveniles was established as a way to discipline individuals that commit a crime, but are too young to be tried as adults. There is a different set of laws that apply for juveniles. The age criteria to establish whether an individual is tried as an adult or juvenile, is set by each particular region.

Juvenile Attorneys

When a young person is charged with a crime, an attorney knowledgeable and skilled in juvenile law should be considered for representation and counsel. A juvenile attorney may speak on behalf of their juvenile client.

In order to become a juvenile attorney a person will be required to obtain a bachelor’s degree and then law school. This can take from seven to eight years to complete. In addition, an individual pursuing a career as a juvenile attorney will need to pass the bar in the state that they wish to practice.

Juvenile Probation and Correctional Officers

Some juveniles that commit crimes will be given freedom with certain limitations. These limitations will be provided by probation terms as determined by the judge. A juvenile probation officer will be in charge of making sure that the youth offender abides by the rules of their probation.

In order to become a juvenile probation officer a person must have at least an associate’s degree in a field such as criminology. Certification along with experience in juvenile justice, criminology, and correctional administration may also be required for an individual to obtain a job as a juvenile probation officer in some areas.

The job of a juvenile correctional officers is very similar to that of a correctional officer working within a prison system with an adult population. The difference of course is the age of the ward. Offenders can be as young as 8 years old and it takes a certain kind of personality to work with children and young adults in a corrections setting. Both patience and maturity are required, as working with young offenders can be challenging. Different states vary in their requirements for becoming a juvenile corrections officer, but having a degree in criminal justice as well as certifications in psychology or extensive experience working with youth would be advantageous.

Juvenile Counselors

Another career in juvenile rehabilitation is as a juvenile counselor. A juvenile who is in trouble may be assigned a counselor to work with them to learn about their life including their overall mental and emotional health.

Someone that wishes to work as a juvenile counselor will need to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. Most of these jobs require an individual to obtain a master’s degree. Most juvenile counselors are required to be licensed in the state and will work with the juvenile’s probation officer to oversee the overall well-being of the youth offender.


Juvenile Judges preside over juvenile cases and determine what the best course of punishment will be for the crimes that have been committed. Juvenile judges often have a special interest in the rehabilitation of minors.

In order to become a judge in a juvenile court a law degree will be required. Most judges in these courts will first work as a juvenile lawyer before being appointed to the bench.

Work Environment

Judges and juvenile attorneys often work in the court room. An attorney may also work with the juvenile at the detention center in order to learn more about the crimes that have been committed. Probation officers and counselors often work in a juvenile detention center and may be required to visit the individual’s home from time to time as well.


Though salaries can vary, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of May 2013 the average annual salary for Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists was $52,910.